We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Richards and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Family photos get a bad rap. All you hear about is how cringey family sessions can be. There’s a ton of outfit anxiety, and everyone’s doing these awkward, forced poses. The kids get cranky and the parents get stressed. And then you get photos back that may look polished, but they’re a little hollow. They don’t pack an emotional punch like we all know photographs can.

I wanted to flip the script on family photos when I started Wild Sonora Photography. My goal is zero stress sessions. Things like outfit planning, coordinating hair and makeup artist, and other concierge services- I do a lot of behind the scenes work so my clients can show up at a session completely stress free.

I also set out to bring more joy and beauty to family photos, and I approach this in a couple of ways. For starters, I believe in getting out of town and getting back into nature. I like to take clients to the most sublime, scenic locations. Not only do they get away from the crowds, but they come away with amazing new memories- like cuddling under the full moon, or watching the sunset behind the mountains.

I also specialize in candids, or storytelling photos. This means families can just be themselves and enjoy their day out in nature. These photos have a lot more personality, and I get the sweetest, simplest, most beautiful images this way. There’s a time and place for posed photos, but I think the photos most people would want in their hands years from now are the ones with more connection and presence. That’s what I want to capture.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve always found it a little weird how family portraits tend to be stiff, formulaic and impersonal, when most families are anything but. In reality, families are full of cuddles and bad jokes and wiping tears and helping out. So when I see perfectly posed portraits, it feels like a missed opportunity to tap into all those big feelings and little nuances.

When I started Wild Sonora Photography, I wanted to approach family sessions differently, with a more candid perspective. I wanted to hold up a mirror up so each family can see how beautiful they are interacting together. These make for some powerful, emotion packed images, and I feel very honored to take them.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My go to is a morning hike followed by patio lunch and cocktails. I’d recommend a trail or two from Arizona Highways Hiking Guide, and some patio time at Lon’s (the Hermosa Inn), or Elote Cafe. Driving up through Sedona, Flagstaff, Page, and the Grand Canyon is a must. Then, I’d head south and go soak up some Seven Falls and stay at the Joshua Tree House in Tucson.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Briona Mosbrucker (@heybmoss) at The Good Vibe Media (@thegoodvibemedia) has been a wonderful friend, supporter, and confidante (not to mention a brilliant videographer!) while building my business.

Website: https://wildsonoraphoto.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wildsonoraphoto

Image Credits
Headshot by McKenzie Holmberg

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.